Monthly Archives: March 2015

A Certain Magical Index Movie: Miracle of Endymion

Type: Cannon Movie Sequel

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Synopsis: Arisa lives in a world where things like Magicians and Espers really exist. She has no particular talent except signing and the ability to make the two protagonists her friends. Unfortunately she has also attracted the attention on Church approved magicians who keep trying to kidnap her without trying to explain why, which would have made the whole process much easier. It’s almost like story convenience was put ahead of basic logic.

Pros: The one most interesting thing about this movie is that it occurs after the events of A Certain Magical Index and A Certain Scientific Railgun. So this movie basically has two sets of characters interacting with the same plot. I found this fascinating. Story wise, the movie does what every anime movie based on a show does by revolving the story around one new character. Arisa is a cute (and literally radiant) singer who catchers Touma and Index’s attention. It later turns out she is part on some overarching plot to blow up the Earth…or something. Arisa of course falls for Touma a little, but its not really important. The other new character of note is Shutaura, Arisa’s secret bodyguard with tragic ties to the “Miracle of 88,” one of the central events to the movie plot. I found her way more interesting that Arisa, and luckily, she becomes a major plays later on in the film.

Cons: I kinda got lost towards the latter half of the story. I know they went to space and the bad guy wanted to blow up something. To be honest, I’m still not sure what the bad guy’s ultimate goal was. Or what the Miracle of Endymion was. I know it involved nudity…On a more objective note, I feel that a lot of characters were crammed in for no real reason. Since the “A Certain” franchise has produced two successful anime shows, they have a variety of characters to showcase. However, this couldn’t always be done organically, so there are a few times when characters feel forced in (cough Accelerator cough). It gets even worse if you haven’t watched both shows. I should also note that Arisa is a singer, so if your not a fan of pop concerts in your anime movie, your out of luck.

Watch it: The Author Wrote this Story, if you’re into that sort of thing

MVP: Shutaura

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Half of this is her story

Best Moment: The Fountain Fight (Awesome fight scenes)

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Minami-Ke Tadaima

Type: Please Don’t Expect Too Much From It

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Synopsis: Three sisters, each in elementary, middle, and high school respectively, live their lives for our amusement. After a great beginning/end and a lousy middle, the franchises adds yet another entry which I can only determine to be some kind of epilogue. You now, the epilogues that are open ended, don’t resolve anything, and leave an incredible amount of room for more stories.

Pros: Still really funny. Much like Season 1 and 3, this season of Minami-ke stuck to its traditional slice-of-life style comedy, this time around winter and spring. Yes, there is an entire scene dedicated to pretending to be hot in order to get invited to eat chilled noodles. So nothing really happens, but its a humorous nothing. I think Season 2 was just a temporary swing-and-a-miss for the franchise. Since this is the 4th season, a few of the supporting characters are given more attention, specifically Haruka’s high school friends (about 20% more). Hosaka and Hitomi stand out the most. The show also seems to have adopted the character design from season 3, so more of the characters look slicker and shinier.

Cons: Minami-ke suffers from Character Overload syndrome. Since it’s lasted so long and has three main protagonists, it has an overflow of supporting characters. Each of the Minami sisters have about three friends each, so that’s twelve characters right there. Plus, there are about seven boys, so that’s nineteen supporting characters. Plus the Minami uncle, so that’s twenty. I’m not saying that they each need an episode to themselves, I’m just saying that’s a lot of recurring characters for one show. I also noticed a bit more fan service snuck in, which was alright because the show knew how to play it for laughs, but I hope the next season doesn’t go overboard. It’s not that type of show.

Watch it?: Still Minami-Ke (4/5)

MVP: Hosaka

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I feel that he really came into his own this season, not shirt and all.

Best Episode: Ep. 8 “Vegetables with Your Merry Friends on Your Day Off” (I warned them!)

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Oreimo

Type: My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute (well, mine are. I  can’t speak for yours)

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Synopsis: Hey, did you hear about Kirino Kosaka, that middle school straight-A track and field star who models professionally on the side? God, I hate her. But I heard from my friend Runi, who hear it from her friend Saori, that Miss Perfect is actually a gigantic neeeeeeeeeeeerd. That she actually loves to play eroge games, especially siscon ones, and watches all kinds of anime. Ha! What kind of loser would spend any of their precious free time watching ANIME!? What a loser.

Pros: Oreimo is considered one of the funnier anime in a while, and it doesn’t disappoint. Being based on a Light Novel, every episode is divided between comedy and melodrama. Luckily, the division is executed well enough thanks to music cues. The emotional conflict that drives both the comedy and drama is the reveal that popular girl Kirino is an Otoku. Kirino had the interesting problem of wanting to keep being feminine and stylish while also being a raging Otoku, but feeling that she can’t be both openly. I think we can all relate to that on some level. It falls on her brother Kyosuke to provide emotional support and help her “come out” as a Otoku (and to take the brunt of her Tsundere abuse).  The show manages to dodge the incest question by addressing it immediately (the show is pretty self aware), which allows Kirino’s and Kyosuke’s relationship to come off as more sweet than gross. I’ll state it for the record, both as a viewer and older brother, Kyosuke damn well earned every “Thanks, Aniki” he got from Kirino.

Cons: Just because the show shoots down the incest question doesn’t mean their still isn’t some percentage of it. So unfortunately, we do get that one scene where Kirino and Kyosuke fall over and Kyosuke’s hand miraculously lands on Kirino’s boob. We also get a lot of Kirino booty shots. Speaking of Kirino’s body (ew), her character proportions weren’t always consistence. Sometimes she was drawn like a small-ish middle school student, but other times she seemed as tall as a young woman. Then again, Brittany Spears addressed this topic years ago, so who am I to criticize. Story wise, I felt that the Anime Production sub-plot was tacked on, coming out of nowhere and going nowhere. The reactions Kirino got to her nerdom bordered on the silly side, with the closest parallel being actually coming out of the closet. Though in Kirino’s case, it always came down to her love of erotic games, so I don’t know how to root for. The show also never explains why Kirino and Kyosuke are so estranged at the beginning of the show, though I know for a fact that it is addressed in the second season.

Watch it?: This is the first anime I’ve ever seen to say the word “Halloween” (4/5)

MVP: Kyosuke Kosaka

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This man takes so many bullets for his little sister

Best Episode: Ep. 9 “There’s No Way My Little Sister Can Play Eroge Like This” (so mellow)

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Full Metal Panic!

Type: Plus Second Raid

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Synopsis: A child soldier named Sousuke Sagura is sent to Japan school to guard a possibly magic girl named Kaname Chidori. Weirdly, the international peace keeping force that sent him neglected the fact that he has not espionage skills, or that he would fall in love. Because of this incredible oversight, his cover in blown right off the bat, putting himself and his charge in constant danger. On the positive side, this does mean the two get to go on the occasional date/counter-terrorist mission.

Pros: This show is the more serious parent series of Fumoffu, which is considered one of the funnier anime series around. For those wondering, yes, during the less action packed episodes, Full Metal Panic! can be just as funny as Fumoffu. The series itself is a military themed action-drama in which the Sausuke Saguar and the counter-terrorist organization “Mithrill”  fight Cobra, I mean the bad guys. Both season one and two have respective big bads, though I’d give the nudge to Season 1’s bat-shit scary Gauron. That man was frightening. The show has really strong characters, each feeling like they have depth and personality, even if they only show up for one scene. Tessa, for example, was portrayed a competent military officer, despite having a jealous crush on Sagura and being designed like the typical “pure” character. The fact that she came off as a “real” person speak volumes for the character work in the show (that one scene in S.2, Ep. 8 was so good!).

Cons: This show ebbs in its pacing. It has really intense action arcs, but then really mellow episodes in between. So it goes really fast, then really slow. The first season was particularly guilty of this, being 25 episodes, some being clearly filler. Season 2 less so because it was only 13 episodes. In fact, Season 2 had a lot less high school scenes than season 1, though Fumoffu had premiered in between, so it sorta balances out. Full Metal Panic! is based on Light Novels, meaning that in classic Light Novel Anime fashion, we don’t get the full story. We don’t know what the “whispered” are. We don’t know about Amalgam. And we end on and open-ended finale. The anime itself is also pretty violent at times, veering from PG-13 to R regularly during the action episodes.

Watch it?: As far as military/high school anime goes, its pretty good. (4/5)

MVP: Tessa Testarossa

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Honestly, even I underestimated her

Best Episode: S.2, Ep. 8 “Jungle Groove” (honestly, S.2 Ep.7-13 are must watches)

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Encouragement of Climb

Type: Can’t spell Encouragement without Courage

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Synopsis: Here’s the deali-o. Aoi is a high school student whose afraid of heights and kinda anti-social. This was working great for her so far, until she runs into her old friend Hinata, who makes her keep a childhood promise of climbing a mountain together. Sadly, Aoi couldn’t pretend to not notice her, because their in the same class.

Pros: Every episode is only 3 minutes. If you don’t have time to watch this, you may need to reflect on your time management. It’s a typical slice-of-life anime with a female bent. The character’s are kinda cutesy, there’s humor, but nothing raunchy, and the main story is about Aoi becoming a more open person. All in all, an easy to digest cute anime.

Cons: There was this weird moment at the end where the girls were changing in the locker room that made me think “who is this for?” My assertion that this was made for a female audience may have been mistaken. This is probably more for a moe audience. That would also explain why some of the girls look a bit too young to be high school students.

Watch it: You can knock this out in less than an hour (4/5)

MVP: Aoi

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I also fell off something once. It’s not something I’d like to repeat again.

Best Episode: Too short (you pick)

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Time of Eve

Type: No Robots were harmed in the making of this anime

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Synopsis: In this little cafe in Japan, probably, I mean, the anime isn’t sure so why should I be? Just because everyone looks, acts like, and speaks Japanese. They could be in Detroit for all I know! The cafe, called Time of Eve, serves as a little refuge for humans and androids to interact with each other freely. There’s also a lot of talk about the Three Laws of Robotics: Serve the Public Trust, Protect the Innocent, and Uphold the Law.

Pros: I was super apprehensive about watching this show once I learned what it was about. The only worse than a sad robot story is a sad dog story. Luckily, nothing super depressing happens to any of the robots in the show (well, except that one guy). The plot is mainly about Rikou learning that androids have feelings, such as his own android, Sammy. The show is a sci-fi drama, exploring the social facets of a life with androids. Should they be treated as people, can they fall in love, do they have emotions, all these topics are explored. Something in the vein of A.I. and Bicentennial Man, or even a more serious version of Chobits. Everything from the shaky cam to color pallet has a near-future vibe to it. And with only 15 minute episodes, its a fast watch.

Cons: I honestly kept expecting things to do dark really fast, but it didn’t, and I am grateful. I already saw the Animatrix, I don’t need to be reminded of man’s inhumanity again. The stories don’t go beyond the main characters going to the cafe and dealing with their own prejudices and preconceptions about androids. The story alludes to a bigger political battle in the background, but nothing ever comes of it. So its an intimate story, but at the same time it feels unfinished. (P.S. Episode 4 is a particularly sad robot story, so I’d advise anyone not wanting to cry to skip it).

Watch it?: There’s a compilation movie of the show, so you could also watch that (4/5)

MVP: Sammy

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I wish there had been one episode from her point of view

Best Episode: Ep. 3 “Koji & Rina: Lovers of Eve” (Is love a human emotion?)

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